WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

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MacNeil Lyons, NPS

Carnivore Coexistence on National Forests

WildEarth Guardians, et. al. v. U.S. Forest Service, et. al.
Pending, complaint filed
Case No.
Case No. 2:20-cv-00223 (E.D. Wash.)
Date Filed
June 17, 2020
State, Venue
Washington, Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
Jennifer R. Schwartz (lead), Talasi Brooks (Western Watersheds Project), Laurie Rule (Advocates for the West)
WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project, and Kettle Range Conservation Group is challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s failure to responsibly manage federally permitted livestock grazing that has incited conflicts with newly recolonizing gray wolves on the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington.  The agency’s refusal to modify domestic cattle grazing practices on these federal public lands and adopt science-backed coexistence measures to avoid and reduce recurring wolf-livestock conflicts, has resulted in the killing of 28 state-listed endangered gray wolves to date, including the total destruction of both the Profanity Peak Pack and the Old Profanity Territory Pack.

The Forest Service has the authority, and responsibility, to incorporate non-lethal methods for regulating conflicts between livestock and wildlife into both its forest-wide Land and Resource Management Plans, as well as individual grazing allotment plans for portions of the forest where problems between native carnivores and domestic livestock tend to concentrate.  Yet, the agency has wholly abdicated its responsibility to do so on the 1.1 million-acre Colville National Forest—roughly 70% of which is allocated to livestock grazing.  This lawsuit seeks to compel the Forest Service to acknowledge the return of wolves to their historic habitat in Washington state, the species’ critical ecological role, and to fulfill their legal duty to preserve this iconic carnivore’s rightful place on National Forest lands.